In Russian folk tradition there has always been a lot of music written for children. They were nursery songs, dance songs and, of course, lullabies. They taught children, comforted and entertained them, talked about traditions.
Inspired by folk motifs, Russian poets and composers created songs for children that have become not just popular, but widely beloved. Today, it is not always possible to understand whether or not these works have authors, or they were created as a result of collective collaborations.
Two Jolly Geese
This Russian folk song about a granny and her two geese was used in 1970 by the director Leonid Nosyrev. He created a colorful cartoon that became part of the series of “Merry Go Round” and became a favorite with audiences of all ages and generations.
Two Jolly Geese. Cartoon
A Christmas Tree was born in a forest
Many believe that a kids’ song “A Christmas Tree was born in a forest” is a folk song, but in fact it has authors. In the early 20thcentury the poem called “Christmas Tree” was published by a Russian magazine. The author of the poem, Raisa Kudasheva, was at that time a little-known children’s writer. After some time, the music to the poem was composed by Leonid Bekman. It is interesting that he was not a musician, and simply sang to his daughter a poem published in a magazine. Notes were recorded by his wife who was a professional musician. After World War 2 the song “A Christmas Tree was born in a forest” became very popular and was performed in Russia everywhere – in kindergartens, schools, cultural centers and theaters during New Year holidays.
Fragment from the cartoon “A Christmas Tree was born in a forest”
The song about a cockerel is a component of the Russian folk tale “The cat, thrush and cockerel.” In the fairy tale the song is sung by the Fox who wanted to steal Cockerel. Russian folk tales often contain rhymed pieces that were sung or recited in a singsong voice by a narrator.
“Friends’ Song” by the poet Sergei Mikhalkov and composer Michael Starokadomsky is more known for its refrain “Tra-ta-ta, tra-ta-ta, we are taking a cat with us…” This song is very liked by Russian kids and has become a popular nursery song sung for small children.
Children’s Ensemble “Vacation.” Friends’ song.
A huge portion of the Russian folklore is presented by lullabies. There were so many of them. The most famous one can be considered the lullaby “Rock-a-bye.” But even this popular song has two versions.